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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
Which one to buy?
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
Performance and specs
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
Model History 

2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4 cars for sale

254 Search results
0 27000 GBP
  • BMW Z4

    £15,995 £15,995

    Variant name:M Sport ,Derivative:M Sport ,Variant: 2.0i sDrive20i M Sport BMW Z4 sDrive20i M Sport Roadster

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 12033 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    Elms-Bedford BMW
    01234 868166 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW Z Series 1998

    £500 £500


    • Mileage: 98000 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SI SPORT COUPE 2006 Auto 79622 Petrol Silver

    £8,790 £8,790

    Presented in Titan Silver this BMW Z4 Sport really stand out. It has a superb specification. Inside it has black leather sports seats with the memory settings, the automatic box also has the paddle shift on the steering wheel.. It is fitted with factory Sat Nav and has the updated disc from 2012. This also means it has the bluetooth phone preparation. Being the sport it also has the sports steering wheel and it is multi functional. It has a comprehensive service record and has been very maintained throughout its life. These are brilliant cars and are starting to become very rare.

    • Mileage: 79622 mi
    • Engine size: 2.996
    For sale
  • BMW Z Series 2009

    £7,495 £7,495

    BMW Z4  60000 miles one owner mot till november 17 Service history  one lady owner very clean car  07814028023

    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 2.0i SE ROADSTER 2006

    £4,490 £4,490

    Welcome, my name is Simon and I am a Professional Motor-Trader based in Exeter. With thirty years of experience, I believe in being completely upfront, open and transparent about the car and its condition. I do this by "Videoing" it "Warts and All" and describing it thoroughly so you know exactly what you are viewing. This allows you to be completely confident in making a buying decision in the comfort of your own home, I guarantee accuracy and have been repeatedly told my method is a "Breath of fresh air". ;;"Terms and Deposit";;To secure this car, all I require is a nominal deposit. Your deposit is fully refundable if you think my video is a misrepresentation and I would gladly pay all your travel costs, however I assure you this has never happened. I welcome Part Exchange and make the whole sales process friendly and effortless.;;"Part Exchange";;If you wish to Part Exchange please call me so I can value your car accurately with you. If I'm busy, please leave a voicemail with your name and inquiry and I will call you back as soon as I am free :) ;;Thanks for looking. Simon 07725 360136

    • Mileage: 94221 mi
    • Engine size: 1.995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £3,995 £3,995

    Heated Seats, Xenon Headlamps, Parking Sensors Full Service History, Great Condition Inside and Out, Full Service History. 1 Key Present, Upgrades - Front Seats Heated, Xenon Lights, Cruise Control, PDC Park Distance Control, Rain Sensor, AUX Connectivity, Last serviced on 09/02/2016 at 102,574 miles, Full service history, Black Full leather interior, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Alarm, Computer, Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD). 2 seats, Silver, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances, including Sub Prime. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3 month warranty through Auto Protect. Call or Text up to 10pm. 7 days a week. Please call James, Tom or Andrew to arrange a viewing, Viewings Best By Appointment

    • Mileage: 113000 mi
    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £5,990 £5,990

    Full Leather, Air Conditioning, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, UK Supplied, ABS, Trip Computer, Metallic Paintwork, Parking Sensors, Remote Central Locking, 18'' Alloys, Full service history 27/5/17 2 KEYS.

    • Mileage: 35000 mi
    • Engine size: 2171
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £3,995 £3,995

    Power Hood, Full Leather, Air Conditioning, Anti-Theft System, Traction Control, Height Adjustable Seat, Front Fog Lamps, Heated Seats, CD Player, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Alloy wheels

    • Mileage: 101000 mi
    • Engine size: 2494
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £12,250 £12,250

    Coral Red 'Kansas' Leather, Aluminium Interior Trim, Power Vario Hood, Multiple Airbags, Climate Control, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Heated Seats, Sports Seats, Front Centre Armrest, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Headlamp Jetwash, 19 '' V Spoke Alloys , Wind Deflector, Bluetooth Phone Preparation, BMW Professional Audio, Factory Alarm, Full service history

    • Mileage: 57000 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale

    £14,995 £14,995

    2011 (11) BMW Z4 2.5 23i sDrive Automatic ;;A stunning low mileage full spec car with many desirable extras and full Bmw service history.; ;New alpine white with full black leather sports trim ;2.5 litre "S" model;31000 miles F.S.H ( all main dealer );2 wheel drive;6 speed auto tiptronic gearbox ;Wide screen colour Satellite Navigation ;Bmw m sports seats ;Cruise control;Telephone Bluetooth connectivity ;sound upgrade with cd;Heated seats;Front and rear park assist ;Fitted rear wind deflector ;18inch Bmw split rimmed 108 alloys ;Multifunction sterring wheel with paddle change gearbox control;3 stage swichable sports suspension ;Folding metal hardtop ;;FULL MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY SERVICED 3 TIMES @ ;;11355, 2013 / 21560, 2015 / 27195, 2016 major service with brakes.;;A stunning genuine car in unmarked condition inside and out that looks and drives perfectly.;;hpi clear with full book pack/ tool kit both keys . ;Mot Jan 2018 supplied with 6 months comprehensive 5 star warranty.;;GBP 14995 px and down trades on request.;;Delivery available to your door nationwide.;Viewing 7 days a week by appointment only please;Similar cars always wanted for stock please go to web site for more details on selling your car

    • Mileage: 31000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SE ROADSTER 2005

    £4,250 £4,250

    Joseph Sutton Motor Company ltd is very pleased to offer this BMW Z4 SE to the market. Finished in Metallic Maldives Blue with Black Leather Trim, Upgrades - Front Seats Heated, Leather Steering Wheel, Business CD radio, Front Fog Lights, Metallic Paint, On Board Computer, Automatic Soft Top Cover, Next MOT due 31/01/2018, Last serviced on 12/05/2016 at 76,307 miles, Service history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD), Alloy Wheels (16in), Alarm, Computer, Electric windows. 2 seats, Metallic Blue, low rate finance available with no payment for 2 months. This vehicle can be supplied with the benefit of a 36 month extended warranty, charged at an additional GBP 595. Part exchanges welcome. All weather Indoor Showroom; view this car whatever the weather. Car prices checked daily to insure they are best value for money. Debit/credit cards accepted. For E-Brochure including photos, detailed specification and service history records, please call 01233782784 or email joe@josephsutton.co.uk, GBP 4,250

    • Mileage: 91000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £15,995 £15,995

    Electric retractable hard top, Full Leather, Heated Seats, Climate Control, CD Player, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Push Button Start, Power Steering, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Electric Handbrake, Immobiliser, Headlamp Jetwash, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Bluetooth, Xenon Headlamps, Traction Control, Alloy wheels, Main dealer service history LARGE SELECTION OF 2 & 4 SEATER CONVERTIBLES/CABRIOLETS ALWAYS IN STOCK, OPEN 7 DAYS, PX WELCOME, FINANCE AVAILABLE,12 MONTHS MOT www.maidstoneautocentre.co.uk, FOR FULL DETAILS AND MULTIPLE PICTURES PLEASE VISIT..www.maidstoneautocentre.co.uk

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 M COUPE 2008

    £18,995 £18,995

    THIS CAR IS NOW SOLD SIMILAR CARS REQUIRED FOR STOCK;We are keen buyers of all BMW Z4 M and Z4 coupe STOCK must have fsh ;We can respond quickly and with cleared funds to your needs.;Cars can usually be collected within 2 - 3 days;finance and loan agreements settled.;tt/chaps bank transfer/bankers draft/or GBP GBP GBP GBP payments;there for we are always worth considering for a faster trade sale;You wont find a quicker, more friendly, pressure free way of selling;Please call us or e-mail with full details including, Service history, and condition of your car for a price to buy. ;PLEASE GO TO WEB SITE FOR MORE DETAILS ;OR TEL 01603 743743 ANY TIME TO DISCUSS;FAST PAYMENT AND INSTANT DECISION

    • Mileage: 74000 mi
    • Engine size: 3.246
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £6,995 £6,995

    Full Leather, Climate Control, Heated Seats Unbelievably Clean Example, Including Under The Bonnet. Previous Owner of 5 Years Kept the Car Garaged., Upgrades - Automatic Soft Top Cover, M Sports Suspension, M Sports Seats, Front Seats Heated, Wind Deflector, Air-Conditioning (Automatic), 3 months warranty, Full service history, Black Full leather interior, Standard Features - Alloy Wheels (18in), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Alarm, Computer (Driver Information System). 2 seats, Silver, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances, including Sub Prime. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3 month warranty through Auto Protect. An upgraded 6 month warranty, or wear and tear policies over 6 and 12 months are also available on request. Call or Text up to 10pm. 7 days a week. Please call James, Tom or Andrew to arrange a viewing, Viewings Best By Appointment, Viewings Best By Appointment., Experian auto check clear

    • Mileage: 53000 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £14,995 £14,995

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Colour Coded Interior, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Brake Assist, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Spoiler, Auto-dip Rearview, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Power Hood, Push Button Start, CD Player, Radio, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Electric retractable hard top, 18'' Alloys, Full service history An absolutely stunning car finished in a highly desirable colour combination. Just two owners from new with a full service history and over £2,000 of factory fitted options. Fantastic value at this price...

    • Mileage: 38995 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
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